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Water agreement done

Klamath document to be released online this morning
 by Ty Beaver, Herald and News 1/8/09  
      The release of the final document comes as stakeholders — including government officials and representatives of agricultural, tribal, fishery and environmental interests — wrap up two days of meetings in Sacramento 

   Stakeholders have worked for nearly two years to finalize the document. It calls for removing four Klamath River dams, providing  water and affordable power to irrigators, and helping endangered fish.

   A final version of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement will be available online at 9 a.m. today, opening up a 30-day public review period.
Stakeholders declined to provide any materials related to the final document prior to today’s release, but Craig Tucker, Klamath campaign coordinator for the Karuk Tribe of California, said all recent negotiations were about making the restoration agreement and the related dam removal agreement consistent.

   “I don’t think you should expect any substantive changes,” he said.

   The meetings Wednesday and Thursday in Sacramento were the third round in a series of meetings there and in Portland to finish the agreement. Legal questions and the extent and number of revisions needed prevented completion sooner.  

   “I think the majority of negotiators around the table are pretty optimistic,” Tucker said.

   Mike Carrier, natural resources policy adviser to Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, said the governor is happy to be able to release the document and get on to the next phase: letting various organizations, groups and constituencies review it and have their say.

   “Everybody’s committed to a 30-day window,” he said.


   Tom Mallams, an irrigator off the Klamath Reclamation Project and president of the Klamath Off Project Water Users, said he is glad the document will be available for public review. But, he said, it still contains a world of problems.

   “They tried to remedy some of them today, but they’re Band-Aids as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

   Mallams said his group is still being shut out of programs in the document that deal with providing affordable power and working with off-Project irrigators with junior water rights.  

   Some last minute changes made Thursday also prevented his group from being among the stakeholders who will sign the dam removal agreement, though the group sought to be part of it.

   “They just shut the door on us, basically,” he said.  

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              Page Updated: Friday January 08, 2010 02:55 PM  Pacific

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